Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
faoileag
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Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby faoileag » Tue May 11, 2010 10:07 pm

I've juts has a mail from a Scottish friend of mine teaching English abroad, who wants to teach a class of young children a few Gaelic phrases as part of a project on Scotland. The children want greet her in the morning with:

Good morning Mrs (or Ms, or MIss) Campbell!

She couldn't think of a natural thing to say, and neither could I. This when I realise the disadvantages of never having attended a Bun-sgoil - and neither has the native-speaker I've just consulted. Like me, he has never had to address or refer to any women in a Gaelic context by anything other than their first name (or first and surname), a by-name or patronymic, or - in formal circumstance - as Mrs Chaimbeul, i.e. the English term. In fact in formal circumstances, including school, only English was used in his community (in Lewis) anyway. The whole formal register (except regarding religion) was missing, at least in spoken Gaelic.

I've been consulting dictionaries, minutes of Gaelic committee meetings, staff lists of Gaelic schools etc, and doing a lot of googling, and it seems we have some choice in the matter, and the jury still appears to be out.

Mr = Maighstir, abbrev. to Mgr - evyerone agrees on that.

Mrs:
Bana-Mhaighstir - Dwelly/Faclair Beag, but not mich in evidence elsewhere. My native-speaker neither liked nor knew it.

a' Bh. = abbrev. form in writing - very generally used, also in Stòr-dàta, and in Colin Mark. It's short, according to Colin Mark, for A' Bhean-phòsta, eg a' Bhean-phòsta Nic Phearsainn. Not something my native-speaker would ever actually say, though he has seen the abbreviation in recent years.

Bh-Ph.
different abbrev., same derivation, in staff list of Bun-sgoil Shlèite for Mrs (as opposed to Miss, see below).


Miss:

A' Mh. = a' Mhaighdeann - Colin Mark: a' Mhaighdainn NicNèill

Mh. - Stòr-dàta

Mh.U. - Bun-soil Shlèite - presumably for a' Mhaighdeann uasal.


Ms:
Not in any dictionaries, but deduced from context:
Bh-Uas - covers both Mrs and Miss in the English equivalent of the minutes of the Gaelic Committee of HIghland Council.
Presumably = a' Bhean-uasal.
Not known to my native speaker, and felt as formal but actually quite pleasing, very professional and neutral.
"They are clearly having to invent middle-class Gaelic", ars esan.


I have often noticed that , for example in the BBC written news, both men and women are first introduced by their full names (no title), but that men are henceforth Maighstir X, whereas women become 'she', or 'the minister' etc, or retain their full name, as if the writers themselves were uncomfortable with choosing a form of address.

In other minutes with lists of names, I have seen versions where only the men have a title, the women just get their full names.

Can anyone shed light on this? A fascinating topic. Reflects on the major changes and linguistic policy issues Gaelic has been facing in its need to embrace modernity. Is there anything on it in the research into Gaelic and register?

And what do Bun-sgoil children say to their teachers in the morning??



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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Tue May 11, 2010 11:24 pm

On the whole Gaelic doesn't really do titles as much as English does with a few notable exceptions such as tighearna, rìgh, athair etc. At least not in common usage and as far as I know most GME school kids just use the English "Miss".

But I resent the allegation that these are newly invented. Perhaps "newly re-inforced" might be a better term. Native speakers sometimes take recourse to the excuse that something is "English" or "invented" simply because they don't know something which in some cases may well have been native language at one point. I remember the one occasion when a chap from Skye got very angry about the word euslainteach, ranting and raving about new Gaelic until I pointed out to his chagrine that it occurs in late medieval texts on medicine...

All these titles for example are listed in Forbes' Gràmar Dùbailt and THAT one goes back to 1843. So I'd say use with caution but bearing in mind that modern custom is to use titles less. Of course, the school system is modelling itself so much on the English system that calqueing may well be unavoidable anyway. It's all a matter of establishing custom I'd say.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby faoileag » Wed May 12, 2010 12:18 am

But I resent the allegation that these are newly invented


Re 'resenting the allegation', I should point out that this quotation was rather ironically meant (I thought the 'ars esan' might signal that), and even then only regarding the neutral version 'Bh-Uas' used to represent the English 'Ms'. He was not saying they didn't exist, only (as you say and is my own experience, as quoted above), that he is not used to hearing them spoken in a Gaelic community context. That was reported as a fact of his experience, not an allegation/complaint, so no need to take up arms! :priob:

It is the choice of which term to use (in this case in spoken Gaelic), or whether to use one at all, that is the primary issue. And linked to this, as I say, the socio-political background to such linguistic choices. Calque? Invent? Revive? Adapt? Ignore?

In the meantime, Gun Chleoc has helpfully pointed out :flur: that Ronald Black, in Cothrom Ionnsachaidh, has a whole section on forms of address - I completely forgot to look there. pp. 172-3, in connection with letter-writing.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed May 12, 2010 3:03 am

Oh, I didn't mean I resented you commenting on it but the pre-emptively negative attitude by some native speakers 8-)

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby faoileag » Wed May 12, 2010 7:23 am

And I was perhaps being over-protective of my innocent and patient colleague, grabbed in passing for an informal survey. For the record, he was not being negative, he was , as I said, kindly telling me how it is/was in his Gaelic-speaking community. He is as interested as I am in in reponses to the question.

It IS an issue that many now middle-aged Gaelic speakers, who use(d) Gaelic domestically and in the local community, but English at school and with officialdom, DON'T have that semi-formal register in Gaelic, and while not necessarily negative towards it, still find it slightly amusing what forms (old or new) are now being used. My parents, for example, would never use 'Ms' in English, and find it an amusing sign of the times, let alone Uas. in Gaelic.

I'd still like to know what the 'official' form of address for teachers is, in GME, so will be mailing friends with kids in such schools.

I'd also like to know who decides what forms to use officially for what when there are a number available. Does it emeerge naturally? Do those who need a form make their own choice, and this percolates via word of mouth/example, and somehow one form proves more pleasing and establishes itself? Or does someone official decide? (E.g. for the Faclair na Pàrlaimaid.)

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed May 12, 2010 12:06 pm

Ok, so peace reigns supreme ;)

The most likely scenario I can envisage for Gaelic is a "cell model" where you have a cell with an un-naturally high percentage of professionals speaking the language who will one way or the other establish precendence. Likely contenders are celtic departments, BnaG/Clì/CnaG offices, GM schools. In particular schools. As far as those go, every time I've been inside the one in Glasgow, they always used the English titles along the lines of "An e seo an seòmar aig Mister/Miss X?". Not much of a linguistic model.

The most workable and least linguistically confrontational model I can at the moment envisage working in a school is "Maighstir [surname]" and "Bana-mhaighstir [surname]". I'm racking my brains but now that I mention it, there is a book somewhere where this model is used in a Gaelic book where someone is addressing a teacher... bear with my bioneural subroutines while they try and remember!

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Wed May 12, 2010 5:55 pm

Isn't "Mrs" just "wife" traditionally...? So "Mrs Ndawe" would be "Bean Ndawe" -- "Ndawe's wife", more or less?

Can't remember where I heard this though, so I may be talking out my hat....

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Seonaidh » Thu May 13, 2010 12:35 am

Chan eil mi cinnteach idir, ach tha mi a' creidsinn gur ann bho "Monsieur" (Fraingis) a thig "Mr." no "Mister" sa Bheurla agus gu bheil an dà chuid "Miss" agus "Mrs." (no "Missus") a' tighinn o "Mistress". Chan eil "Ms." ach oidhirp air ìre bhoireannach (bho "Mistress") nach ciallaich staid phòsta na mnà. Chan eil, creididh mi, tiotalan mar sin san Ruisis agus carson a b' fheudar an fheadhainn a bhith sa Ghàidhlig? 'S ann clobhdach a tha a' Chuimris cuideachd, le "Y Bon." is "Y Fns." ("Y Boneddigwr" - am Fear Uasal; "Y Foneddiges" - an Tè Uasal). A dh'innis an fhìrinn cha toil leam "Mr.", "Ms." amsaa sa Bheurla. O aidh, sa Bheurla, tha "Mgr." a' ciallachadh "Monsignor", tiotal san Ealglais Chaitligeach.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Thrissel » Thu May 13, 2010 2:40 am

Seonaidh wrote:Chan eil, creididh mi, tiotalan mar sin san Ruisis


?-?, ?-??

mar eisimpleir

????????, ... = gabh mo leisgeul, Mr / Mrs

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Thu May 13, 2010 11:58 am

Cha do thachair mi air cànan gu ruige seo aig nach robh honorifics... tha siostaman nas toinnte aig cuid agus siostaman nas simplidh aig feadhainn eile ach tha iad anns gach cànan, ar leam.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Thu May 13, 2010 12:30 pm

faoileag wrote:Bana-Mhaighstir - Dwelly/Faclair Beag, but not mich in evidence elsewhere. My native-speaker neither liked nor knew it.

It occurs to me that Maighstir is more "master" than "mister" in origin, and we used to called teachers "schoolmasters" (hence "headmaster"), so this seems to me to be a pretty good candidate for what a "schoolmistress" would have been, at the very least. I wouldn't put much stock in what they say in modern GME schools -- there's a lot of "dictionary tr*nsl*t**n" at play there, from what I'm told.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Tearlach61 » Fri May 14, 2010 7:39 am

Rud a chuala mi airson 'mrs' s e 'bean-phòsda' Mrs Clinton=bean-phòsda Clinton. Air Aithris na Maidne.

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby An Gobaire » Tue May 25, 2010 12:25 pm

Gheibh thu am fiosrachadh a tha a dhìth ort air taobhan-duilleig 18 agus 19 de Ghnàthachas Litreachaidh na Gàidhlig.

http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/SQA ... ns-G-e.pdf
Dèan buil cheart de na fhuair thu!

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Re: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby faoileag » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:18 am

Mòran taing! :D
An toiseach cha b' urrainn dhomh an ceangal agad fhosgladh ach fhuair mi e ann an àite eile a-nis, agus tha e feumail, gun teagamh.
Ged sin na rudan a 'bu choir dhuinn' a' bhith a' cleachdadh - ann an cuid de na sgoiltean, co-dhiù, bidh Maighstir ach Miss/Mrs gan cleachdadh, bha mi a' faighinn a-mach. (Mar a thuirt Ak gu h-àrd.)

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Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss in Gaelic?

Unread postby Annabel » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:04 pm

Tha mo chlann aig sgoil Ghàidhlig agus aig an sgoil againn, bidh sinn ag ràdh "a Bh-uas".